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Giants and Swans fight Battle of the Bridge

Kevin Sheedy, coach of the Giants during the half time break of the 2013 NAB Cup round 01, week 02 match between the GWS Giants and the Sydney Swans at Blacktown International Sportspark, Sydney. (Photo: Craig Golding/AFL Media)
Kevin Sheedy has come up with a new name for Swans/Giants clashes
KEVIN Sheedy continues to leave his unmistakable mark on the AFL scene in Sydney, coining the name the 'Battle of the Bridge' for clashes between the city's two clubs.

The man who once called North Melbourne officials marshmallows, tied down windsocks to put off his opposition and complained about martians has now given the crosstown clash an official moniker.

The name was mooted when the Sydney Swans and Greater Western Sydney first met in a stand-alone game to commence the 2012 season, along with others such as the Sydney Stoush, but it has now been adopted by the two teams.

The name doesn't refer to the city's most famous bridge, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, rather it is in reference to the Anzac Bridge, which connects the east and west of the city.

"Along with the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Anzac Bridge has become a powerful landmark in Sydney, but also pays respect to those who served this country,” said Sheedy, who did two years of compulsory army service during his playing days.

"We want this to be a big event for the people of Sydney and there is no bigger event in sport than a local derby.

"We think this will become one of the great rivalries in Australian sport.”

Sheedy was one of the architects behind the 'Dreamtime at the G' game between his former clubs Essendon and Richmond, with the winner of that match awarded the Kevin Sheedy Cup.

The Giants have also acknowledged their inaugural head coach, with the club's best and fairest winner awarded the Kevin Sheedy Medal.

The matches between the Sydney clubs were initially known, rather uninspiringly, as the Sydney Derby.

But it now has a new label.

“Just as the AFL has the showdown in Adelaide, the Derby in Perth and the Q-clash in Queensland, now we have a fitting name for our own game, the Battle of the Bridge,” GWS chief executive Dave Matthews said.

“The Anzac Bridge is an iconic Sydney landmark that joins the city's east and west and is a perfect symbol for this game between the Swans and the Giants.

“East versus west. The champion versus the challenger."

The Swans comfortably won the first two clashes between the sides last year, but the Giants have already boldly declared they expect to be far more competitive this season.

But they also are respectful of what the Swans have achieved in Sydney.

“I want to acknowledge the Swans for what they have done to build the game in Sydney over the past 30 years," Matthews said.

"As reigning AFL premiers they are the benchmark of the competition and the emergence of the Giants is an opportunity to build a big cross-town rivalry.”

James Dampney is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_JD